Greg Venables is speaking at the Morning Bible Sessions this week. Greg and his wife Sylvia have been missionaries in South America for 37 years. Greg has been Bishop of Argentina since 2000. Here VOX magazine's editor Ruth Garvey-Williams brings you a summary of his teaching on Monday 13 July.
1 Corinthians 14:20: Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.
Somebody has to say it. At this stage in world history, God is saying, “I want you to grow up.” Unless the church matures and begins to function as the church was intended to function, what is going to happen? In the western world, we have abandoned the word of God and we have abandoned everything that makes sense.
How can I grow up? How can I take steps towards the maturity God wants in my life? Whether you are 19 or 90, God wants you to mature.
There is nothing wrong with being child-like but there is something tragically wrong with being childish. We are so selfish. We can think we are the only people in the world without an accent because everything starts with us. What is important is God’s accent!
Someone said, “I suppose you want to know what I think of God.” I said, “What’s more important is what God thinks of you!”
God wants to change your way of thinking so that you begin to think like Him. And you will begin to do what He wants you to do and to feel what He feels. If the church doesn’t get out and start being the church, what is going to happen to this world. Jesus told His disciples, “I want you to GO not to stay.”
It does not necessarily mean that you have to go to the other side of the world, but you have to go and do something but you won’t do that until you adapt your way of thinking. Pentecost was not an implosion, it was an explosion. They did not stay in!
We’ve been called to make disciples and that is the job of every single Christian. We are going to spend this week considering how we can begin to mature. All you have to want is to want it!
Don’t abandon the basics. Stay with the basics and then grow from them. You can sit in the car park all your life, it won’t make you a car. There is only one thing that makes you a Christian. It is the presence of Jesus in your life.
Building on the right foundation
What is the foundation of your life? That is the most important question you need to ask. How do you know what your foundation is? It is where you go when you get to the worst moment in your life.
Paul makes it very clear what is not an adequate foundation in 1 Corinthians 3. Depending on another person is not sufficient. Depending on human reason and wisdom is not enough.
All the church’s rituals and traditions are not enough. Paul says, “I’m so glad I didn’t baptise any of you.” These are not the foundation.
There is only one foundation - Jesus! No one can lay any other foundation! There are countless people in churches who have never taken the step of putting Jesus as the foundation of their lives.
People say it doesn’t matter what you believe… but that is illogical! You know what is wrong with the world? We live in a world created by God as if the creator doesn’t exist!
Your Creator is the only one who really knows who you are and what you are about! The only way you will be fully you is when He is the foundation of your life. He knew all about you, even before your were God.
We need to recognise our sin! What was the first word of Jesus’ first sermon in public? Repent! He is our Saviour.
But we also need to know that He is Lord. When the storms come, He is in control. Peace that passes understanding is only there when you have nothing else. We see Jesus when we get to the end of the road!
I received a vital lesson from my mother about buttoning a shirt, “Gregory, put the first button into the first buttonhole and the rest of the buttons will be fine.” Jesus wants to be your first love. That's the first button in the first buttonhole. Get that right and everything else will fall into place. You will find no peace, stability or future until you have this step clear.
“Lord, your word is crystal clear that there is only one foundation. We want to get that right before we move on to anything else.”